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Field Hockey: The No. 11 Wildcats are riding high after a three-win weekend

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Northwestern, currently on a four-game win streak, is red hot thanks to a veteran defense and a high-powered offense.

Northwestern Field Hockey

Northwestern field hockey (6-2) continued to plow through its nonconference schedule this weekend, winning all three games, including a ranked road win. The 11th-ranked Wildcats’ impressive wins over UMass Lowell, No. 18 Wake Forest and Ball State served as nice resumé boosters as they enter conference play.

Multiple Wildcats earned Big Ten recognition for their efforts. Bente Baekers continued her offensive dominance, scoring four goals this weekend and earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time this season—an award only Northwestern players have won so far in 2019 despite the conference having three other teams in the top 11. She now leads the team and the Big Ten with eight goals and 17 points on the year.

Lakin Barry also had a standout weekend. The junior recorded three goals, including two against UMass Lowell. Her standout performance earned her Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Finally, senior back Kirsten Mansfield assisted on three goals, all against UMass Lowell, and now leads the team and the conference with six assists.

Northwestern started its weekend at home with a decisive 7-2 win over UMass Lowell. After a scoreless first half, Northwestern went on a tear, scoring seven goals in the final thirty minutes. Saar de Breij struck first, followed by two Lakin Barry goals just a minute apart. UMass Lowell responded with one, but the Wildcats held their ground and fought back with three more consecutive scores—one from Maren Seidel and two from Bente Baekers.

In the final minutes, each team scored once more, with the final blow coming from first-year Peyton Halsey. The Wildcats charted an impressive 16 shots on goal and nine penalty corners, which resulted in three of the match’s scores.

After asserting their dominance at home, the Wildcats hit the road to take on Wake Forest in a crucial 2-0 ranked victory. The game was a defensive showdown and remained scoreless until the fourth quarter, when Baekers broke the silence, scoring off a defender’s deflection to give Northwestern the late advantage. Barry then put the game out of reach, tipping in a cross-field drive from Maren Seidel.

To finish off the weekend, Northwestern returned to Evanston to take on Ball State. The Wildcat defense was up to the task, preventing the Cardinals from taking a single shot and earning Florien Marcussen her third shutout of the season (tied for the most in the Big Ten). Seidel was the first to strike late in the first quarter, followed by Baekers’ eighth goal of the season to extend the lead to two at half. De Breij gave the final blow in the fourth to make it a 3-0 victory. She now has 19 goals in her career—the most of any active Wildcat.

With its only two losses of the season to No. 4 UConn and No. 2 Duke (in double overtime), Northwestern prepares for its conference debut. The Wildcats will travel to Ohio this weekend where they will take on No. 12 Ohio State on Friday to begin Big Ten play, and non-conference opponent Miami of Ohio on Sunday.